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Work has finally resumed on the Sagrada Família - but it will no longer meet its 2026 completion date

Tim Gibson

24 September 2020

 

CONSTRUCTION work was halted at Barcelona's Sagrada Família site in March 2020 as the COVID-19 pandemic swept Spain - only the second time works on the building have been paused in its near 150-year history.

While construction has now resumed, it's extremely unlikely that the project will not meet its 2026 completion deadline.

The iconic basilica has been under construction since 1882 and has only ever stopped once before, from 1936 to 1939 during the Spanish Civil War.

Above: The Sagrada Família rising above Barcelona.

Designed by Antoni Gaudí, the project is thought to be almost 70 percent complete.

When Gaudí died in 1926 - after being hit by a tram - the basilica was taken over by a series of chief architects who have had to interpret his designs.

Much of Gaudí’s plans were lost in a fire during the Civil War.

Above: The basilica is one of Antoni Gaudí's masterpieces.

While construction has now resumed, because of COVID-19 restrictions and social distancing measures it is now taking place at a much slower rate.

Work is instead being focused on completing the 138-metre-high Tower of the Virgin Mary, leaving the 172.5-metre-high Tower of Jesus Christ for the time being.

Reduced tourism has also affected the rate of construction; the basilica funds most of the work from admission fees.

Above: The 2026 deadline will likely be pushed back.

Esteve Camps, chairman of the construction board, has said the project has seen tough times before and that this will be no different.

He has admitted that the board will be rethinking the 2026 completion window, a date that was supposed to coincide with the centenary of Gaudí’s death.

COVID-19 continues to affect much of the construction industry, with many projects being stalled or having to push back completion dates.

Watch a visualisation of how the completed basilica will look appear:


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